I really do like fish. I like catching them, but mostly I like eating them. But in order to eat a wild fish, one must first catch a wild fish.
So I got up to go fishing today at 5:20 AM. All my gear was loaded in the car already the night before, and was ready to go. In addition, I’d found a very small amount of nightcrawlers as well, though not nearly as many as I’d have liked to have found. My compost pile isn’t producing the worms it should. Quite likely because my idiot neighbor’s idiot dog that they let loose to roam the neighborhood every single day, despite all the local ‘leash laws’ comes over and eats whatever we put in there within hours of it being put out. (This family’s progeny is one of the high ranking public servants in this town, so they get away with things that others would be enforced upon, no matter how many times people complain. The laws don’t apply to THEM, you see. Special class of citizen.) That stupid mutt will even eat the egg shells and banana peels, I kid you not. It’s no wonder no nutrients are getting into my compost pile to entice worms to be there. Two years ago I’d turn over a shovel full of compost dirt and find dozens of lovely worms for fishing. Last night, I found THREE. And they were all super tiny. Not cool at all. This is something I’d not counted on for fishing season. I’ve NEVER had to buy bait before, and I haven’t figured that in financially. It cost enough in gas just to get there to fish at the reservoir, 25 mile round trip, at least. I don’t need any additional expenses.
Anyway, I get up and get ready to get dressed, and then I touch the outside window. It’s like ICE cold. Whoa… whiskey, tango, foxtrot, what’s going on here… So I look up the temp. 40 degrees.
Nope, not happening. Windchill across that lake is about 15 degrees cooler than ambient, so we’re looking at fishing in 25 degree in near constant wind gusts. Not happening. There’s no enjoyment in something like that for me, and they don’t let you have a fire anymore there, so that was a double no-go.
I’ve postponed my fishing trip until late afternoon/early evening. Which is fine by me. I’d have had to cut it short as I have some things that need done mid-day anyway. Now I’ll be able to go afterwards and fish as long as I want without worrying about being rushed. So, it’s all good.
Hopefully, I’ll find some more nightcrawlers between now and then. I’m going to go turn over my compost pile to help entice some worms to take up residence.
In the meantime, It should warm up to about a high of 74 today. The panfish like it much better when it’s warmer, and are very sluggish at cooler temps.
In other foraging news I did find some escaped cultivar grapes. They’re of the variety with two-forked tendrils. Native muscadines have non-forked tendrils. (Many thanks to Green Deane for the clarification between escaped and cultivated varieties.)
Here we have an overview of the vine, with it’s signature dual tendrils very visible.
The next two pictures, we have are the raceme of growing fruit, which will eventually turn into buckshot sized little grapes.
Lastly we have a picture of the leaves. The leaves are great after they are boiled. I use them to wrap things such as rice dishes in. Just boil the leaves a few minutes, and when they turn an olive color, pull them out, wrap your favorite rice and meat dish in them. If the rice dish is pre-cooked, then you can serve immediately. This is what I like to do, as the leaves won’t dry out by being in the oven.
I also found a fruiting but not-quite-ripe mulberry tree. I knew the mulberry tree was there, and went in that spot specifically to check on it. There were two, when I was there last, two years ago in 2011. Someone cut one down sometime between then and now. Not cool at all. This looks like a White Mulberry – Morus alba. The leaves underneath are glabrous -smooth- thus ruling out the Red Mulberry – Morus rubra, which has fuzz on the bottom of the leaves.
Even though it’s called a ‘white’ mulberry, the fruit on these mulberries will be ripe when it’s black.
As always, I never pretend to be an ‘expert’ on Dead Latin, and learned (most of) my plants from my father growing up. So, if anyone sees that I ever have the wrong name or Latin label on something, by all means, speak up. We weren’t concerned with such things when I learned plants and foraging all those decades ago. Hence, we simply called these ‘Mulberries’, and knew they were safe and edible.
Also, mulberries easily hybridize. This could easily be a White/Red Mulberry hybrid combo with simply White Mulberry features.
Either way the fruit is all equally edible. These will be sweet, with a hint of tart when ripe. I find them delicious to eat out of hand, and I baked a ‘sweet loaf’ with them a few years back that was just divine.
White Mulberries tend to be less sweet than Red or Black mulberries. (And therefore, probably better for those of us trying to go Primal/Paleo, where less sugar is typically a good thing.)
You can learn more about the differences of mulberries near you, here: http://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/FNR/FNR_237.pdf